Monday was one of my favorite holidays, partially because of the meaning behind the celebrations and parades – our independence as a nation, our freedom, the open exhibition of pride in our country – but more because it’s one of the few holidays that bring my family together. Swimming, barbecuing, visiting, and being “community.”
I had a lot of conversations over the course of four days away from home while we spent time with my family, but the one conversation I couldn’t escape from usually started something like, “Books! Book book book books, tell me why do you sell them so cheap?”
“Because if I didn’t, no one would bother to buy them,” is my usual answer. It’s the answer that makes sense.
Now, for just a little clarification, I put both books on sale last week before heading out of town. Basically, I’m giving them away at $0.99 and $1.99 on Amazon, and it makes me a little nauseous. Anyone who has published through Amazon or B&N knows that pricing a book under $2.99 means you only make 35 or 30% royalty, respectively, (70% if it’s $2.99 or more) … so while I might have sold, say, 10 copies of To Have at $0.99, I actually made less than $3.50.
Let that sink in.
Really, let it sink in.
It takes some of us more than a year to get a book out, and then to sell it we need to cut off our noses to spite our faces because in order to someday afford to hire someone to do promotions we first need the income from the book we’re trying to sell. That’s not to say promoting isn’t happening, it’s just not happening on a “I hired a promotion service to do it for me” level. It’s authors posting in Facebook groups and Twitter, authors hoping and praying their friends and family give enough of a shit about their book to post links and share teasers. It’s authors reaching out to bloggers and asking about review policy, if they’re interested, if the have time, if they care, and then sometimes never hearing back. It’s authors getting frustrated with one sale every three days so they put their books on sale and post THAT in all those groups and still see little reaction.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m talking to the wrong people.
It’s not just sales though. People want to read books that have reviews, people want to read books that have decent ratings, people want to read things other people recommend. I post pretty regularly reminding anyone who follows me on social media to rate/review the books they read (not just mine, but every author) because, believe it or not, those ratings and reviews help. I released my second book one month ago, have posted about reviews multiple times, and still there’s a total of 7 reviews on Amazon (5 on Goodreads). I’ve literally begged readers to leave reviews.
Beneath it all, I get it. I wrote and released a book in June 2015 and started writing the second one right away. I was excited about it. I talked about it. I *thought* people would stick with me and support me until it was done. I’m sorry it took me a full year to get the second book out. I wanted to make sure it was perfect by having six people read early copies instead of four because I haven’t hired out editing and formatting. I was also really tired. Ironically, for the first time in ever I valued sleep over work.
Little fish, big pond.
So … why do I sell my books so cheap? Why did I price them at $2.99 instead of $5.99 and then put them on sale? Why?
I have no idea.
At least I have an extra almost $3.50 so I can buy a cup of coffee. The bright side, right?